Darkroom Photography

Out from the Darkcloth - Intro to Large Format Photography

20 July 2019 - 21 July 2019
11.00 - 17.00
Brittonie Fletcher

This course provides an introduction to the large format 5x4 view camera. 

What does large format mean in photography? What is a 5x4 (4x5) camera? How does a view (bellows) camera work? Wait…can you still get plates for that? Isn’t that just a really old camera?  All these questions and more will be answered! 

Behold! A negative which has more detail and information than many digital cameras, high resolution, fine grain, big contact print. 

Course Outline

Day 1: Introduction 

  • Overview of course and Health & Safety 
  • Camera anatomy
    • Bellows
    • Lens board + Lenses
    • What's a copal?
    • What do you mean 'movements?'
    • Darkslides - loading and use
    • Lightmetering
  • Setup and first exposures 

Day 2: Film processing

  • Cover film processing methods - tanks vs trays
  • Process the exposed film 
  • Make contact prints to see our developed large format photographs!

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking


Eyes Open - Photography for 12-16 yr olds

1 July 2019 - 4 July 2019
5 August 2019 - 9 August 2019
11.00 - 14.00
Morwenna Kearsley



Take your imagination on a journey and experiment with a range of skills including digital photography, photograms and collage.

If you have an interest in photography and visual art and are interested in trying new things, then this course is for you. 
The emphasis is on having fun developing your own visual style and meeting other aspiring young artists.




Course Outline

Day 1:  Eyes Open

In this introductory session, we will think about what makes a great photograph and why. Then we will work out what makes your photographs particular to YOU!

  • You will be introduced to a Digital SLR camera and we will explain the manual settings, fully exploring how to capture light and time in a single image and make the perfect exposure!  
  • Using a series of famous photographs as our guide, we will visit locations near Stills to re-create these images and investigate the successful elements of the photograph’s composition.
  • You will then have the opportunity to make your own, entirely unique set of images.

Day 2:  Keep Them Open

In this session, you will have another opportunity to be 'out & about' making photographs using your digital camera. This is a chance to build on the work you made on Day 1 and focus on the aspects of photography that interest you most!
You will also have a chance to use and experiment with Adobe Photoshop to enhance your images and/or make some Surreal new compositions!

  • Practise using your camera on a manual setting and in combination with a tripod.
  • Learn about the Surrealist movement in photography.
  • Learn how to use Photoshop to make simple but effective changes to your photographs as well as using it to make strange new compositions in the manner of the Surrealists!

Day 3:  Back to the Future

Taking the photographic lessons we learned on Day 1 & 2, we will further investigate your particular uniqueness as an artist photographer!

  • Travel back in time before the invention of digital cameras and explore the magic of the darkroom.
  • Experiment with a camera-less technique called the Photogram which will allow us to make beautiful images using only paper, objects and our imaginations! 

Day 4:  Cut & Paste

Using some of your spare prints from Day 1, 2 & 3 we will explore and create a series of photographic collages.

  • Using cut-out techniques, drawing, painting, embroidery and more, we will transform your previous images into new and exciting works of art.
  • Experiment with making joiners, (a photographic technique made famous by artist David Hockney), where one picture is assembled from several overlapping photographs.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking


Project Day: B&W Darkroom Printing

7 July 2019
11:00 - 17:00
Morwenna Kearsley

A practical follow-up to our Introduction to Black & White course, this course will concentrate on building your printing and editing skills, teaching split-grade printing techniques, and giving you the confidence to start working in coherent series. 

During this workshop you will learn to print black & white photographs to a high standard and make a concise series of images with consideration to how we read the photographic image. We will look at the work of other photographic artists who work successfully in small series and as a group to critique and refine each other’s images.

**Please note: This course only covers the printing of images and participants should therefore bring previously processed negatives (either 35mm or 120) and if you have one, a printed contact sheet along to the session**

All materials (including a range of papers) will be provided.

Course Outline


  • Presentation and analysis of what makes a successful series of photographs, and how the final print can be crafted to accentuate the photographer’s artistic intent.
  • Re-cap of basic darkroom skills - including overview of the enlarger, cropping, dodging & burning, and layering of negatives.
  • Learn how to Spilt-grade print, (a more advanced technique to create a print with greater tonal range and control).
  • Demonstration of pre-flashing and controlled fogging techniques.
  • Plenty of practical darkroom time to work on your images and gain confidence in the new skills and processes.
  • Brief presentation of your work to the group to showcase the skills participants have learned throughout the day.



Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking


Darkroom Photography: Intro to Colour Photography

1 June 2019 - 2 June 2019
11.00 - 17.00
Caroline Douglas

This course will introduce you to the beautiful world of colour analogue photography. Taking as a starting point the work of contemporary photographic artists working with colour, we will discuss and explore theory as well as developing core skills essential for the capture and printing of your own colour images.

You will learn how to correctly expose colour negative film and learn more about the characteristics of different types of film and the effects that they can have on an image. Within Stills’ darkrooms you will learn how to process your colour film by hand and print high quality analogue C-Type prints.

By the end of the course you will have:

  • Learned more about colour theory and have a knowledge of contemporary artists working with colour photography
  • Learned to process your own colour film
  • Experimented with a variety of specialised darkroom printing techniques 
  • Printed contact sheets and a collection of colour photographs
  • Feel confident in a colour darkroom using specialist equipment
Course Outline

Day 1: 

Morning - Colour Theory, Inspiration and Refresher for SLR Camera Controls

During the morning we will be looking at contemporary photographers and artists that have used colour to inform their practice in specific ways. We will look at the ways in which colour revolutionized the artworld and vernacular photography. We will also look at basic colour theory, exploring which colours compliment each other and why. We will also refresh basic camera controls, load cameras and head out to the streets to shoot a roll of film.

Aims of morning session:

  • to have more of an understanding of the history of colour photography and its impact on contemporary photographers and artists.
  • to understand basic colour theory
  • to feel confident with your SLR camera

Afternoon - Colour Film Processing

During this session, you will learn how to hand process your colour film. We will discuss the loading of the tank and the preparation of the machine to ensure correct processing temperature. We will look at different film types, why you may want to use them and the range of effects that can be produced. 

   Aims of afternoon session:

  • to learn how to process your own colour film
  • to be familiar with all the equipment used in colour film processing
  • to cut and store your negatives correctly
  • to discuss and compare different film types and their effects

Day 2

Morning - Introducing the Colour Darkroom and Contact Sheets

You will be introduced to Stills’ colour darkooms and become familiarized with the range of equipment you will be using. You will be taught how to set up your darkroom for printing, how the colour print processor works and how to print a contact sheet for viewing your negatives.

Aim of morning session:

  • to feel comfortable using a colour darkroom
  • to know how to use all the equipment correctly
  • to make a colour analogue contact sheet

Afternoon - Printing

In the afternoon you will be expected to make a series of final C-Type prints. You will be shown techniques to improve your printing skills and produce the images you desire. This last session will allow you time to print with some one-to-one attention. We will discuss some printing techniques to help you get the most from your negatives. We will also have time at the end of the day to look back on all the work produced over the course and discuss it in relation to theory we learnt at the beginning.

Aims of afternoon session:

  • to be confident in the colour darkroom
  • to produce high quality C-Type prints

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking


Darkroom Photography: Intro to Black & White

21 May 2019 - 11 June 2019
2 July 2019 - 23 July 2019
18.00 - 21.00
Morwenna Kearsley

Any good photography is a successful synthesis of technique and art.” Andreas Feininger

Discover the magic of Black & White Photography and learn some of the secrets the masters use to make stunning photographs. Explore the fundamentals of light and time and no longer be a slave to the Auto setting. Master the manual functions of your 35mm SLR film camera and unlock its true potential. Get to grips with the complete darkroom workflow from processing film to printing your own black & white photographs.

Perfect for those with no experience or those looking for a full refresher. If you don't have a SLR camera we have a limited number of available for use during the course - please ask about availability at time of booking.


Course Outline

Week 1 Capture, technical notes, discussions, art context.
Understand the fundamentals of light and time in balancing an accurate exposure; No longer be a slave to the Auto setting! Know how to utilise the Manual functions of their 35mm SLR camera;Understand film types, film speed, depth of field, different lenses and how to use them creatively; Appreciate photography within an art context - Begin to look at the work of other photographers.

Assignment: You will be given a project and one roll of B&W film to be shot for the second week 

Week 2 Film processing:
Learn how to process B&W film by hand in Stills’ darkrooms. We will discuss different film types and chemistry, as well as best practice procedures for film handling.  Appreciate photography within an art context - Look at the work of photographer Nan Goldin

Week 3 Contact printing:
Gain an appreciation of general darkroom procedures; Experiment with photograms, learn contact printing and printing from negatives. All paper and chemistry will be provided

Week 4 Darkroom printing:
This last session will allow participants to keep on printing with some one to one attention. We will also explore some basic dodging and burning and other printing techniques to get the most from your negatives.

Stills uses ILFORD PHOTO chemicals on this course that can potentially pose a risk to pregnant and breast feeding women and asthmatics. 

 We take every care to ensure good working practices and adequate ventilation in our darkrooms. If you feel you may be adversely affected, please see below for links to the Safety Data Sheets on the relevant chemicals you will be using during the course, or visit the Health and Safety section of Ilford’s website for further information.

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking


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